tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS May 1, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> pelley: tonight, the president's secret trip to afghanistan. he sets the time frame for u.s. support and will address the nation. norah o'donnell has breaking news. on the first anniversary of the killing of bin laden, a question for the man who ran the mission. was there ever a notion of capturing osama bin laden in this mission? >> yes. >> pelley: the f.b.i. says anarchists tried to blow up this ohio bridge. john miller has details. which way is the economy heading? rebecca jarvis has new evidence. and the life and times of mike wallace memorialized today. >> mike loved being mike wallace.
captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. president obama will address the nation shortly from afghanistan. he made an unannounced trip there today on the first anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. mr. obama and the afghan president signed a security agreement that pledges the support of the united states through 2024. then the president met with u.s. troops at bagram airfield, telling them the battle is not over yet but "there is light on the horizon." norah o'donnell is at the white house tonight. norah? >> reporter: and, scott, the president's advisors admit it is no coincidence the president chose this day, the anniversary of osama bin laden's death, to have the president travel to afghanistan and to announce this plan that will help end the war in afghanistan, a war that has cost the lives of nearly 2,000
americans. air force one touched down at bagram air base under the cover of darkness, a sign of the secrecy and security surrounding the president's trip. mr. obama then met with afghan president karzai to finalize an agreement on just how involved the united states will be in afghanistan's future. >> i've come to afghanistan to mark an historic moment for our two nations and to do so on afghan soil. i'm here to affirm the bonds between our countries, to thank american and afghans who have sacrificed so much over these last ten years and to look forward to a future of peace and security and greater prosperity for our nations. >> reporter: the president said the toll of war has been great for both countries but that the u.s. commitment to a peaceful afghanistan remains firm. >> with this agreement i am confident that the afghan people will understand that the united states will stand by them.
>> reporter: the agreement signed by the two leaders is largely symbolic following the removal of combat troops in 2014 there will be no permanent u.s. bases in the country. but the u.s. will continue to train afghan troops and target al qaeda. afghanistan also gets a promise that the u.s. won't abandon the country like the international community did in 1989, a withdrawal leading to civil war and the rise of the taliban. afghanistan then became a safe haven for terrorists like osama bin laden to plot the 9/11 attacks. >> and a year ago we were able to finally bring osama bin laden to justice. (cheers and applause) >> reporter: the president also used this trip to meet with troops and express his gratitude. >> you've earned a special place in our hearts and i could not be prouder to be your commander-in-chief. >> reporter: and, scott, it was just four and a half hours before the president actually landed in afghanistan that news of his trip actually leaked out,
starting from an afghan broadcaster. it was then picked up online but advisors say that the president was never in any danger and we didn't see him change his schedule at all, despite this security breach. >> pelley: they usually keep those things secret until the president lands. norah, i wonder, with the speech being scheduled tonight on the anniversary of bin laden's death, one might ask whether this has been carefully timed for the u.s. presidential election. >> reporter: well, there are some republicans who are going to charge that-- and have charged-- that president obama is exploiting the death of bin laden for political gain. but this trip to afghanistan was part of a long-planned trip because they've been actually working for 20 months on this strategic partnership agreement. and, remember, it also sets up this big nato summit in chicago later this month where they will talk about transitioning u.s. forces out of a combat role and training afghan security forces. >> pelley: norah, thanks very much. it's important to remember the
context of the president's trip. he's traveling to afghanistan at one of the worst moments in u.s./afghan relations. in recent weeks, a u.s. soldier was arrested in the massacre of 17 afghan civilians. u.s. troops inadvertently burned copies of the koran. and then there were those pictures of u.s. soldiers desecrating the bodies of enemy troops. we don't know whether any of that came up in mr. obama's meetings today. cbs news will, of course, bring you live coverage of the president's address from afghanistan beginning at 7:30 p.m. eastern time. the mission to kill bin laden was launched from afghanistan against a high-walled compound in abbottabad, pakistan. we asked clarissa ward to return to the site of that compound to learn more today about the state of al qaeda. >> reporter: for six years it was the hiding place of the most-wanted man in the world. we arrived in abbottabad to find bin laden's former home is now a
playground. pakistani authorities leveled the house in february. this man met bin laden in kabul in 1996 when he was a spoke man for the taliban. he is one of few people with close contacts to militant groups in the region. what was your impression of him? >> reporter: but one year after bin laden's death, kakar says al qaeda's forces in pakistan have been diminished to just a few hundred by continuing u.s. air strikes. how much of an impact does osama bin laden's death have on al qaeda?
>> reporter: this inexperienced inner circle of new leaders has struggled to maintain al qaeda's profile. spectacular coordinated attacks in the west-- such as those on the world trade center-- have been replaced by smaller operations in this region. >> pelley: and clarissa ward joins us flow the pakistani capital, islamabad. clarissa, you were in abbottabad where osama bin laden was killed and i'm wondering what did do the folks there today say about the american raid? >> reporter: well, it's quite astonishing, scott. one year later many people still do not believe that osama bin
laden was living in n that city. they certainly don't believe that he was killed by that u.s. navy seal raid there. short of seeing proof, they say, they simply can't fathom that it would be possible. obviously this is a part of the world that is big on conspiracy theories. and even those people who do believe that osama bin laden was living there and was killed there are more angered than anything else by the fact that the u.s. violated pakistan's sovereign integrity by staging that raid. >> pelley: clarissa, thank you very much. the mission to kill bin laden was run from c.i.a. headquarters and the man in charge that night was leon panetta. it was panetta who described events as they unfolded to the president at the white house. for an interview for "60 minutes," we asked panetta for an insider's view of the plan to get the man that they code named "geronimo." was there ever a notion of capturing osama bin laden in this mission? >> yes.
there could be a situation that would allow them to capture him and they were to make use of that. >> pelley: where were you going to take him? >> we would... we clearly were going to move him out and put him into a detained area for a while while we obviously interrogated him and then made the decision as to what would happen. >> pelley: the president and several others are in the situation room down at the white house. are they listening to you? are you narrating what's happening? >> i'm basically briefing them on kind of what's going on. they're also following it, but i was basically relaying what i was hearing from those who were conducting the operation. >> pelley: what were the exact words that you heard from the seal team? >> the person who was heading up the operation basically said "i think we have a geronimo."
and i kind of looked around at everybody at operations center and said "it looks like we may have... bin laden really was there." and then he said... came back, "we think we have geronimo k.i.a.." >> pelley: killed in action? >> that's correct. >> pelley: what was the scene in the operations center of the c.i.a. at that moment? >> well, you know, it wasn't like we were high fiving. it was more like, frankly, we kind of looked at each other and said all of the work that had been done, all of the questions that had been raised, all of the risks that had been talked about that, you know, that in the ended the all proven right. >> pelley: two months after the raid, panetta moved from the c.i.a. to the pentagon as
defense secretary. we were reminded today that al qaeda still has ambitions to strike. a federal jury in new york convicted a man of plotting a suicide bombing of new york subways. the man could get life in prison. in another terror case, five self-proclaimed anarchists are in a federal lockup tonight in cleveland. prosecutors say the men intended to blow up a major bridge outside the city but they were caught thanks to an f.b.i. informant. john miller has our story. >> reporter: the suspect are midwesterners who said they wanted to strike out against corporate america, according to u.s. attorney steve dettelback. >> terrorism can come in many hues and from many homelands. >> reporter: federal investigators say the group spent several months looking far target to attack before they settled on this bridge in brecksville, ohio. they planned to blow up the heavily traveled span over the cuyahoga valley national park. steve anthony, the f.b.i. agent
in charge of the cleveland office, says the plot was uncovered by an informant. >> they ultimately negotiated with f.b.i. undercover agents and purchased two inert-- i say inert-- improvised explosive devices i.e.d.s. >> reporter: last night agents watched as a man planted the fake explosives at the base of the bridge, left the scene and tried to use a remote device to detonate them. >> they entered the codes they thought would blow up a bridge with innocent people traveling over it. >> reporter: the men were all americans ranging in age from 20 to 35 and are charged with conspiracy. authorities insist the public was never in danger. according to the f.b.i., the group discussed other possible plots including toppling bank signs from high-rise buildings in downtown cleveland, but they finally settled on blowing up the bridge. >> pelley: john miller is joining us now. john, how does blowing up the bridge further their fight against corporate america? >> well, it's a little muddled,
scott, but their theory was that, a, it would force the government to put security on every bridge in the country and that would cost money and that, b, it would mess up traffic and keep people from getting to work at those big companies. >> pelley: john, thank you very much. the u.s. economy is improving but it's slow going, especially when it comes to jobs. in britain, members of parliament take aim at rupert murdoch. and what happens when a runner celebrates his victory too early? that's when the "cbs evening early? that's when the "cbs evening news" continues. would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye-care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. [ male announcer ] ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. now, that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite.
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>> pelley: the occupy wall street movement chose this mayday to revive its protest campaign. in seattle, anarchists in black went on a rampage smashing bank and business windows, setting fires and throwing at least one smoke bomb. in oakland, demonstrators confronted riot police who made several arrests. and thousands turned out for a nonviolent protest in new york where the movement began. the "wall street journal" says that bank of america is preparing to cut 2,000 more jobs worldwide. that's on top of 30,000 jobs announced last year. but there were signs today of improvement in the overall u.s. economy as well and rebecca jarvis has more about these mixed economic signals. >> reporter: while the u.s. economy is adding jobs, it's at the slowest pace in five months.
business investment and construction spending are also weak. >> the unemployment path is not improving as quickly as i think that it should. >> reporter: chicago federal reserve president charles evans says this economic soft patch probably won't deepen but things aren't going to improve quickly, either. >> what we need to do is to get people to increase their entrepreneurial activities so that there's hiring that would increase demand and things would pick up much better if they did. >> reporter: nearly 70% of the nation's biggest companies reported better profits than expected in the first quarter of this year. but much of those gains are due to cost cuts. big business is still very worried a deepening recession in europe could spread here. economist richard bernstein. >> i think most americans view our economy with kind of blinders on and they think that we're the only economy that's got trouble and they don't realize that europe and asia and even the emerging markets have a lot of trouble that's bubbling up and so we're kind of the best house on a bad block.
>> reporter: more than one million jobs have been created in the past five months, but that's being partially offset by job cuts in state and local governments. >> we actually all probably all want long recoveries. what you don't want is a long recovery that isn't really a recovery. >> reporter: and how that recovery goes, scott, is really dependent on two things: it's what congress does at the end of this year about the expiring tax cuts as well as budget cuts that are set to take effect. all the business people and economists i speak to talk about that as a fiscal cliff and issue number one for the economy. >> pelley: rebecca, thank you very much. british lawmakers say rupert murdoch is not fit to run a multinational corporation. that story's next. a party?
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him unfit. >> none of us were able to support the report and we all voted against it. >> reporter: british regulations say the owner of a media company has to be "fit and proper." the committee's report suggested that murdoch-- arguably the world's most powerful media mogul-- is not. >> we find news corporation carried out an extensive coverup of its rampant law breaking. >> reporter: murdoch claimed not to know that his employees at a leading british tabloid, the "news of the world," had been hacking into the voice mail messages of, among others, the royal family, celebrities, and even a murdered teenager. to the very end, murdoch insisted other people had conspired to keep him and his executive son james in the dark about the hacking. >> someone took charge of a coverup which we were victim to and i regret. >> reporter: but the parliamentary committee wasn't
buying it. throughout the hacking scandal, it said it was murdoch's company that covered up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> pelley: some of the fallout in all of this did land in the u.s. les hinton, a former top executive with news corporation, was forced to quit as publisher of the "wall street journal" at the height of the scandal last summer. we saw some fascinating video today from a track meet in palo, alto, california. lopez lomong won the 5,000 meter race on sunday in 13:11, the fastest in the world this year. that was remarkable considering he stopped to celebrate one lap too early. he quickly realized his mistake and hung on to win the race. lomong was born in sudan. he spent ten years in a refugee camp and is now a u.s. citizen. the mike wallace stories you haven't heard. the mike wallace stories you haven't heard. sharing memories of mike, next.
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wallace. ♪ so here's to life and every joy it brings... ♪ >> pelley: that's barbara cook who mike once profiled for "60 minutes." one of mike's seven grandchildren-- wallace bourgeois-- said that this is his favorite pictures. >> it's one of those perfect pictures snapped when nobody knew it was being taken. scattered on the steps around him are the rest of us, smiling equally wide, basking in the love of our grandfather. >> mike loved being mike wallace. >> pelley: "60 minutes" producer bob anderson traveled the world with mike for 18 years. >> sometimes when we entered and airport and people hadn't realized mike was there he'd look up at a flight monitor and, in his distinctive voice bellow out "i see united is running late again." (laughter) >> pelley: pourly safer remembered playing a practical joke on mike. >> i was part of a cabal that sent a spears you letter
ostensibly from the so-called genius sperm bank. (laughter) inviting mike to join various nobel prize winners... (laughter). ... in making a deposit-- or donation or whatever it's called. he roamed the hall brandishing that letter. (laughter) >> reporter: chris wallace-- now the host of fox news sunday-- remembered the last time he saw mike, shortly before his death. >> even in his diminished state, there was no one who was more fun to be around. he was still mike wallace and that was still plenty. so long, dad. ♪ and here's to you... >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all
around the world, good night. captioning spo this is 9news now. >> president obama is in the middle of a surprise trip to afghanistan and on this first anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden, he's preparing to address the american people. we will carry it live in a half an hour. that speech -- our president extended the nation's commitment through the first quarter of this century and gary is here with that. gary. >> we should make it clear that we're not talking troops here, but an agreement to work with afghanistan for at least ten years after nato troops are scheduled to leave in 2014. it was a year ago that the president surprised the country with the announcement of osama bi